Favorite Books of Feb & March 2020

I’m behind a month, but really, is it that surprising with everything happening around us? Also, self quarantine + potty training a toddler = insanity. Send chai lattes stat. Please and thank you.

If you’re holed up like we are and need some fresh book list additions, I’m here to help! Below are some of my favorite books from the past two months.

So take a gander, and maybe a break from the news reel. Your soul will thank you.

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In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It

That’s right. Lorelei Gilmore/ Lauren Graham. And believe me, you will feel like you’re Rory sitting in their kitchen, listening to witty anecdotes and advice. Lauren Graham as a knack for making you comfortable, then feeding you pieces of reality that after consuming, you think, “That actually wasn’t too bad.” It’s a little book with solid taste.

 

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A Court of Inquiry

Grace Richmond is one of my favorite, underrated female novelists of the early 20th century. She crafted story lines and characters with the best of them, yet leaves you a better person by the final page. I respect that kind of talent. This book of hers reads like a novel, but feels like a play (or is it reads like a play, and feels like a novel?). It is a delight for the mind and heart.

 

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Reflections on the Psalms

Much like A Grief Observed, though less abstract,  C.S. Lewis takes you on a journey through his musings. I appreciated that he admits at the beginning to be a novice in the study of the Psalms, then welcomes you to join him as he attempts to decipher their themes. The book was refreshing in that it challenged my own views and thoughts, even if I did not entirely agree with his conclusions.

 

 

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Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in Their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom–and Revenge

You read that right. Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. I stumbled across this book and immediately had so many questions! Why? How did they keep kosher on board? How many pirates were there? What level of piracy are we talking about here–Veggie Tales or Captain Blood? And again, why? Edward Kritzler illuminates a section of history I had no idea existed. A rabbi turned pirate to ensure his community’s safety. The reality of the enormous reach of the Spanish Inquisition. The right hand man of the infamous Barbarossa who became legend. If history sparks your imagination, this book is pure gold.

 

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Twig

I’ve decided to start including at least one children’s book in my recommendations, because some of the best stories come from children’s books, right? Twig is a wonderful little chapter book, full of whimsy and charm. Elizabeth Orton Jones fashioned the story after her own childhood (1940s), and opens up a world in which a drain pipe, a single dandelion, and an upside down tomato can becomes a tiny world of its own. I read it aloud to my kids and they loved it.

 

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A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry wrote this play in the 1950s, and with a deft hand, paints a vivid picture of the life of a working class family living in the south side of Chicago. Within a page or two, I was completely sucked in. The struggle between generations, husband and wife, siblings, races, and classes echoed beyond her pages to every family, across all heritages and creeds. And at the heart of it all, the burning hope for a better life.

 

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Food: A Love Story

How this man managed to think up 300+ pages of commentary on food, I’ll never know.  But I’m thankful that Jim Gaffigan was that man. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference was between bacon and Canadian bacon, he’ll tell you. If you’ve ever wondered if America holds its own among the cheese fanatic nations of the world, he’ll tell you. If you’ve ever wondered if the South will rise again, he’ll say no, then tell you why. This book made me laugh, then hungry, then disgusted, then laugh again. I mean, what more could you want?

 

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Why Suffering

Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale approach the question, “Why would a loving and powerful God allow suffering?”, and they do so with logic and deep compassion. I don’t listen to books very often (noisy house), but I’m glad I did with this one. Their voices capture their own experiences with suffering, making the book feel more conversational than straight lecture. If this is a question you have ever voiced (and honestly, who hasn’t at this moment?), then this book is an excellent place to go for answers.

 

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Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen

I grew up watching the Jeeves and Wooster series, but somehow, never read one of P. G. Wodehouse’s books. The tales of a haphazard young gentleman and his always-to-the-rescue valet are comedic genius. In this particular story, young Wooster is sent to the country for his health, and houses with an aunt who may not be the upstanding aged relative that he had thought. Mistaken identity, accidental late night pool swims, unwanted engagements, and a cat that just won’t go away will keep you laughing and anxious to see how Jeeves fixes it all once again.

 

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Dirty Chick: Adventures of an Unlikely Farmer

Leaving behind the familiar world of their urban home and country, Antonia Murphy and her family move from the USA to New Zealand to chase the idyllic farm life, not knowing anything practical about that way of life. What ensues is a hilarious, and quite relatable account of their first couple of years. The language can be salty at times, and you will learn more about the love affairs of various farm animals than you ever needed to know, but I found myself charmed not only by her heartfelt words, but the beautifully chaotic world that she had made.

 

Stay tuned for more book recommendations next month!

 

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